Students learn how to program using loops and switches. They see how loops enable us to easily and efficiently tell a computer to keep repeating an operation. They also see that switches permit programs to follow different instructions based on whether or not preconditions are fulfilled. Using the LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robots, sensors and software, student pairs perform three mini programming activities using loops and switches individually, and then combined. With practice, they incorporate these tools into their programming skill sets in preparation for the associated activity. A PowerPoint® presentation, pre/post quizzes and worksheet are provided.
Building on the programming basics learned so far in the unit, students next learn how to program using sensors rather than by specifying exact durations. They start with an examination of algorithms and move to an understanding of conditional commands (until, then), which require the use of wait blocks. Working with the LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robots and software, they learn about wait blocks and how to use them in conjunction with move blocks set with unlimited duration. To help with comprehension and prepare them for the associated activity programming challenges, volunteer students act out a maze demo and student groups conclude by programming LEGO robots to navigate a simple maze using wait block programming. A PowerPoint® presentation, a worksheet and pre/post quizzes are provided.
Using new knowledge acquired in the associated lesson, students program LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robots to go through a maze using movement blocks. The maze is created on the classroom floor with cardboard boxes as its walls. Student pairs follow the steps of the engineering design process to brainstorm, design and test programs to success. Through this activity, students understand how to create and test a basic program. A PowerPoint® presentation, pre/post quizzes and worksheet are provided.
Building on what they learned about wired and wireless electrical connections in the associated lesson, students use Android phones to take advantage of Bluetooth wireless connections to remotely guide LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robots through a maze. They compare this wireless remote control navigation to their previous experiences navigating LEGO robots via programming. A PowerPoint® presentation and pre/post quizzes are provided.
Through the two lessons and five activities in this unit, students' knowledge of sensors and motors is integrated with programming logic as they perform complex tasks using LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robots and software. First, students are introduced to the discipline of engineering and "design" in general terms. Then in five challenge activities, student teams program LEGO robots to travel a maze, go as fast/slow as possible, push another robot, follow a line, and play soccer with other robots. This fifth unit in the series builds on the previous units and reinforces the theme of the human body as a system with sensors performing useful functions, not unlike robots. Through these design challenges, students become familiar with the steps of the engineering design process and come to understand how science, math and engineering including computer programming are used to tackle design challenges and help people solve real problems. PowerPoint® presentations, quizzes and worksheets are provided throughout the unit.
Students learn how two LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT intelligent bricks can be programmed so that one can remotely control the other. They learn about the components and functionality in the (provided) controller and receiver programs. When its buttons are pressed, the NXT brick assigned as the remote control device uses the controller program to send Bluetooth® messages. When the NXT taskbot/brick assigned as the receiver receives certain Bluetooth messages, it moves, as specified by the receiver program. Students examine how the programs and devices work in tandem, gaining skills as they play "robot soccer." As the concluding activity in this unit, this activity provides a deeper dimension of understanding programming logic compared to previous activities in this unit and introduces the relatively new and growing concept of wireless communication. A PowerPoint® presentation, pre/post quizzes and a worksheet are provided.
Students are given a difficult challenge that requires they integrate what they have learned so far in the unit about wait blocks, loops and switches. They incorporate these tools into their programming of the LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robots to perform different tasks depending on input from a sound sensor and two touch sensors. This activity helps students understand how similar logic is implemented for other every day device operations via computer programs. A PowerPoint® presentation, pre/post quizzes and worksheet are provided.
After completing the associated lesson, students test their understanding in two programming tasks that utilize LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robots and sound/touch sensors. In the first challenge, students become acquainted with wait blocks by designing programs to simply make robots move forward until "hearing" a noise, and then turn left. The second, more challenging activity pushes students to fully understand the potential of wait blocks. They create programs that make the robots change speed several times when a touch sensor is pressed. Students gain practice in the iterative design-program-test-redesign process. A PowerPoint® presentation, pre/post quizzes and worksheet are provided.
Students learn about electrical connections, how they work and their pervasiveness in our world. They consider the usefulness of wireless electrical connections for connecting electrical devices. Morse code is introduced as a communication method that takes advantage of on/off states to transmit messages by electrical bursts sent via wires, light or sound. They learn the Morse code rules and translate a few phrases into Morse code. Specifically, they learn about a wireless connection type known as Bluetooth that can be used to control LEGO robots remotely from Android devices, which leads into the associated activity.
Through four lesson and four activities, students are introduced to the logic behind programming. Starting with very basic commands, they develop programming skills while they create and test programs using LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robots. Students apply new programming tools move blocks, wait blocks, loops and switches in order to better navigate robots through mazes. Through programming challenges, they become familiar with the steps of the engineering design process. The unit is designed to be motivational for student learning, so they view programming as a fun activity. This unit is the third in a series. PowerPoint® presentations, quizzes and worksheets are provided throughout the unit.
Students are introduced to the basic concepts of computer programs, algorithms and programming. Using a few blindfolds and a simple taped floor maze exercise, students come to understand that computers rely completely upon instructions given in programs and thus programs must be comprehensive and thorough. Then students learn to program using the LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT software. They create and test basic programs, first using just the LEGO NXT intelligent brick, and then using basic movement commands with the LEGO NXT software on computers. A detailed PowerPoint® presentation, plus a worksheet and pre/post quizzes are provided.